Laurence J. Bement of Langley Research Center invented a technique to permit metal joining operations under hazardous or inaccessible conditions. The process, which provides a joint with double the strength of the parent metal, involves the use of very small quantities of ribbon explosive to create hermetically sealed joints. When the metal plates are slammed together by the explosion's force, joining is accomplished. The collision causes a skin deep melt and ejection of oxide films on the surfaces, allowing a linkup of electrons that produce superstrong, uniform joints. The technique can be used to join metals that otherwise would not join and offers advantages over mechanical fasteners and adhesives. With Langley assistance, Demex International Ltd. refined and commercialized the technology. Applications include plugging leaking tubes in feedwater heaters. Demex produces the small plugs, associated sleeves and detonators. The technology allows faster plugging, reduces downtime, cuts plugging costs and increases reliability.